Drop 'satisfaction' metrics and use these 2, Banner CMO says

When systems use metrics like employee and patient satisfaction, what they're really trying to capture is employee pride and patient loyalty, Eric Katz, MD, chief medical officer at Phoenix-based Banner Estrella Medical Center, told Becker's.

Terminology matters, he said, adding that employee pride is a better measure than satisfaction.

"If you want people to be satisfied, you give them pizza and free hats and they'll be perfectly happy — until they run out of pizza and want a new hat," Dr. Katz said. "But people who have pride in their work go the extra mile. They teach others how to have pride in their work. They come up with new ideas and have the psychological safety to share them. That's what I want. I am proud of what Banner does and when I cease to be proud at Banner, I will cease to fit here."

On the patient side, asking about the experience in the parking lot or with the pharmacy or physician may not be an accurate indicator of whether a patient will return.

"I think hospitals and healthcare systems are really looking for loyalty," Dr. Katz said. "With loyalty, you get people coming back again and again, who will only come to my hospital, which makes our job easier because we don't have to update metrics or medications. It provides better integration of care."

He said there are a lot of patients who are loyal to Banner Estrella's ER department, but staff shortages in some areas require patients to be transferred to other facilities.

"It teaches them to go somewhere else for their care and it undermines everything we've built, but we have no choice because what we care about most is the patient's outcome," Dr. Katz said. "That's a threat to patient loyalty that may not go away for several years."

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